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ICM Partners Under Fire: 7 Most Shocking Accusations in LA Times Exposé

Over 30 sources detailed a corporate culture where harassment and abusive behavior were commonplace

Hollywood talent agency ICM Partners was the subject of a blistering L.A. Times exposé published Wednesday where 30+ former and current employees detailed accusations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct against female employees and people of color.

Below are seven of the most shocking allegations (the full exposé can be read here):

  1. A film finance executive at the company alleged that partner Steve Alexander exposed himself to her in car back in 2016. Three sources confirmed he was placed on leave after the alleged incident. Alexander denied the allegations.
  2. Agent Kevin Hussey allegedly made unwanted advances towards an actress client in a hotel lobby and tried to kiss her. Two sources with knowledge of the hotel incident told the Times the client was reassigned to female agents and that Hussey reported the incident and apologized to the actress.
  3. Jabari McDonald, a former media rights assistant, said HR approached him and two other Black support staffers to pose as agent-trainees in a promotional video shoot. That title was higher-ranking than the roles they actually had and HR wanted them to help make the agency look more diverse. “It was poor judgment,” ICM said in response, adding, “it was quickly corrected.”
  4. Five people told the paper that founding partner Carter Cohn (pictured above bottom) berated a female agent so severely that she broke down crying in a bathroom and he was ultimately reprimanded. The alleged incident happened after she prematurely added herself to the IMDb Pro page of an actress who was leaving another agency.
  5. Two sources recalled an incident when Brad Turell, senior vice president of corporate communications (pictured above top), harangued an assistant for not connecting him to a call on time. He told her that she acted like she worked “in a f—ing nail salon.” She quit. Turell issued an apology when contacted by the paper. Former employees told the Times multiple reports about Turell’s derogatory comments behavior towards women were made to HR between 2017 and 2019.
  6. The Times exposé included a review of an HR complaint in which one former assistant said agent Mitch Blackman threatened to break her ankles if she divulged a conversation they had. He also, according to the Times, was possessive when telling her not to transfer offices, saying, “You are mine. No one else can have you.”
  7. Kiran Subramaniam, an assistant to former partner Mark Gordon, said Gordon called her a “f—ing moron” after she couldn’t secure a lunch reservation and once threw a package at her that almost hit her face. A colleague she told about the package-throwing incident confirmed the account for the exposé.

In a Wednesday statement, ICM Partners board members and department heads Lorrie Bartlett, Jennifer Joel and Janet Carol Norton refuted the assertion that their company is hostile to women and people of color.

The statement said, in part, “Neither we nor our company are perfect; no one is. But in a challenging, competitive, and labor-intensive industry that demands much of its participants, we feel privileged to enjoy a safe and encouraging environment, fair and abundant opportunities, and the respect and support of all colleagues of all genders. With them, we continue to be engaged in a concerted effort towards a better and more equitable culture that will have broad, deep and longstanding effects on our peers and, most importantly, our clients.”